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What do you need to Become a Professional Makeup Artist

Updated on January 29, 2015

A makeup artist also referred to as a ‘cosmetologist’ basically works on applying makeup to people for creating a desired effect. Usually makeup artists work on applying makeup to both males and females, primarily to those who are fashion models, famous musicians, anchors, dancers, actors and other celebrities. People usually have a tendency to approach a makeup artist for the services, only when they have to attend special events like weddings or proms. A makeup artist can work as an independent professional or at a salon. They can also hire agents to arrange and book their appointments for their services.

A Makeup Artist's considerations

The perfect makeup for a person usually depends on lots of factors. A makeup artist has to take into account following factors in order to design his makeup technique that will suit the demands:

- The person's skin color, facial structure, what kind of even he/she would be attending, the kind of atmosphere and light he'd be subjected to and the photographer's film.

- If a makeup artist is working on a client who is a model or an actress, he/she usually needs to discuss the desired look with the director or the photographer.

- The time of the day as there are distinct makeup techniques for day time and night time separately.

- The brands and colors of foundation, lipsticks, blush, powders and eye makeup to create the perfect look.

In order to be a successful professional makeup artist, you need to be quite creative, explicit in your work and patient. If you want people to trust you, you need to be really good with their faces and aim at working delicately and accurately. Apart from this, good communication skills are really necessary in order to engage your clients, since a makeup artist sometimes has to spend hours working on the makeup of a client.

As rightly said by a Los Angeles makeup artist –

"You get the greatest gossip out of people when you are working on their faces!" 

Preparation Needed for Being a Makeup Artist

High School Preparation

- You can begin by reading fashion and beauty magazines and try applying makeup to your friends.

- In order to build versatility in your skills, get innovative with your techniques that can range from various styles right from the conservative ones to the ultra-wild.

- Call for certain photo sessions with your friends, whenever you apply makeup to them and take pictures, which you can store as a portfolio of your makeup work.

- Art and craft classes can work their best for you in high school as painting can facilitate you to work better with colors and designs. Learning to click right pictures will give you the skills to record your designs more appropriately.

College Preparation

- You may not find too many specialized training courses in this area in college, but there are certain ways in which you can learn a lot about theatrical makeup and costumes, and that is in your college's theatre department, dramatics and event management section.

- Another way you can build your profile in makeup is by choosing the majors of costume design and theater in certain selected colleges available to you.

Makeup Artist Training Programs

- If you want to get into makeup artist profession at any later stage of life, you can take the help of makeup training certification programs, through which, you can learn how to apply makeup for movies or special events like weddings, photographic makeup, and character makeup and even learn how to apply a permanent makeup.

- Most of the training courses provide the hands-on experience, so you can easily practice and get innovative with colors and tones. These professional training courses can vary from thirty-five hours up to over five hundred hours.

How much can a Professional Makeup Artist Earn?

If you can manage to build a good portfolio, get fruitful contacts and have stars and celebrities as your clients then there are high possibilities to earn a lot from this career. If you are working on a movie set, photo shoots or a music video, you can expect long and tedious work throughout the day. Certain makeup artists have claimed to spend around 10 hours a day in re-applying makeup to models and actors, whenever they are working on a shoot. Apart from this, your make up creativity may not be accepted all the time by your clients. Hence, you need to be prepared to accept the reactions at first if some people don't like the way you make them look. 

Irrespective of all this, it always feels great to make someone look glamorous and gorgeous! So, if you love to make people look beautiful then get into this profession and show your best!

"Sometimes when you look at someone, after you have worked your magic, you can't believe how gorgeous they look! Then when they see themselves in the mirror, and you see them liking what they see - you can't help but feel incredible" ~ Gina Brooke, makeup artist, Los Angeles

Get Your own Professional Make-up Artist Kit


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    • mysisters profile image

      mysisters 6 years ago

      Great Hub. Being a makeup artist is sometimes a hard profession to be involved in. Some of the different styles they do are amazing, especially for fashion shows.

    • profile image

      Jennie Demarchi 6 years ago

      I got a great make-up sketchbook at You should check it out! Totally helpful and it isn't a kids book, it's like the MAC book.

    • calicoaster profile image

      calicoaster 7 years ago

      Hi Padmini, I wrote about certain shops there in the comment section only as a reply to your query. Apart from that you can check the last section of my hub

      to know more about Ulm!! :)

    • profile image

      padmini 7 years ago

      Hi cali,

      I know you from another blog you visit :-)

      I came to know from ur recent post that u were in ULM for sometime....i am going there next week...can you tell me some shopping experience there..or any good cosmetic brands...high end and drug store..there..please...